Year's brightest supermoon coming to OR skies Sunday night

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The word "supermoon" was coined by Richard Nolle, an astrologer, in 1979. According to NASA, it's used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

This weekend's full moon will be the first and only supermoon in 2017. On the other end, the apogee is when the moon is farthest away. It is a full moon which happens with the moon at or near its nearest approach to Earth in a given orbit.

December's full moon officially occurs at 10:47 a.m. Sunday.

In December this year, the full moon and the periodele differ in less than a day.

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The moon has to be no more than 363,711 km away from the Earth to be considered "super". Gurtina Besla, a professor at the Arizona University, said that the phrase "perigee syzygy" refers to the moon being at its closest distance to the Earth, and syzygy refers to the alignment of multiple bodies - the moon, Earth and sun need to be aligned for us to see a full moon.

According to NASA, there will be supermoons in both January and February of 2018. Not only will the supermoon be about 7-percent larger, visually speaking, it'll also be about 16-percent brighter. Just two weeks after it's closest pass on Sunday, the moon will reach 253,000 miles from earth on December 19th. In this position, the moon looks larger and brighter than when it rises up in the sky, because when it is low, one can compare it with elements of the landscape (hills, buildings, etc.).

At it's closest point, the moon will pass 222,135 miles from earth.

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